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"Diesel" - Collie with Ivermectin Poisoning


Unlike cats, which are generally very fastidious eaters, dogs were designed to gorge on just about anything which might be nutritious. Sadly this enthusiasm for devouring objects which subsequently turn out to be less than advantageous leaves our canine friends exposed to a large number of potentially fatal toxic results.

"Diesel", the young Border Collie, got a lot more than he bargained for one day last week!

Now most people will recognise that whilst horse manure may be suitable for helping your roses to bloom it is not the most nutritious meal for a hungry canine. Yet many dogs do seem to relish the flavour! Sadly for Diesel his particular "pile" came with an extra punch!

The day prior to "Diesel's" gourmet snack all the horses in the yard had been treated for worms using "ivermectin". This is an extremely effective drug which acts by paralysing the parasites. Normally, the effect of the drug on mammals is minimal as ivermectin does not penetrate their central nervous system easily.

"Collie" dogs however have a peculiar and potentially fatal susceptibility to ivermectin thought to be associated with a much higher uptake to the brain. Consequently, soon after "Diesel's" snack his owner noticed that he had started to become disorientated and poorly responsive.

Once at Fairfield, my colleague Aga was able to diagnose his condition and with supportive care through the night "Diesel" has recovered to "tell the tale!" Frustratingly for his owners it is unlikely that "Diesel" will ever realise just exacly what caused his very serious "hangover" and learn from his mistake. If only life was that simple!!


Terry Dunne BVMS, Cert SAO, MRCVS

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